Saturday, January 27, 2024

Antarctica 2023-4 - Day 3 - 12/28/2023 - Glaciar Martial

We received word yesterday when checking in that the meeting time for embarkation would likely be moved back to 7pm tonight from the originally planned 3pm. We tried last night to find an activity to do for today, but we couldn’t find a reasonably timed tour (e.g., to the national park). One concern/limitation was that it was supposed to snow and rain today. Also, we would need to give our luggage to Intrepid by 9am and then check out by 10am - even with the embarkation delay.

After breakfast and checking out, we decided that we wanted to do the hike up the nearby Glaciar Martial. Fran ran into another couple from England, TJ and Tom, with similar ideas. We waited around for them and all set out around 11am. It was about a 15 minute walk up the road to the start of the trail, and then another hour or so to get up to the top. It was snowing and quite windy during parts of the hike. We left TJ and Tom behind about halfway up, and if I was alone I probably would have turned around as well. But I had Fran there to keep me motivated to “just make it to the next bend” and then decide from there. I was definitely close to my limit in terms of cold as well, and needed to keep moving to maintain the warmth. In any case, Fran and I made it to the end of the trail, which was simply marked by a succinct sign post. The end itself did not provide a particularly stunning view, but the general landscape along the way was quite admirable. Also, there turned out to be not much of a glacier at all; perhaps because it was summer.

Hiking the Glaciar Martial trail

We took another hour to get back down to the hotel, where it took me quite a while to warm my fingers up to functioning condition again. They had a nice fire pit set up in one of the rooms, which helped provide warmth and dry our gear (in particular my inner layers). I should mention that I didn’t really have any pelvic discomfort until about halfway down, and didn’t have too much trouble lasting the remaining half hour or so.

After resting in the hotel for a while, we decided to take an Uber into town around 5pm to check out the gear shops again and have a light meal at Cafe Martinez once again. The meeting time was 7pm for departure by bus from the hotel, and 7:30pm at the final meeting point by the pier for those declining the transfer. We found out when we arrived at the meeting point that the ship - Ocean Endeavor - (which we could see from the shore) hadn’t even docked yet from the previous expedition (it already had one failed docking attempt after bad weather), and boarding would be delayed. Eight of us (including Michelle, Liz (who turned out to be from STL as well), TJ, Tom, Steph, and Katrina) decided to go wait and grab drinks at a nearby restaurant/bar overlooking the port; a couple of other smaller groups from the tour later came to the same place to have food. Fran bought a few empanadas from a small shop across the street for us to have later - the original expedition plan included dinner on the ship that night, but it was becoming more likely that this wouldn’t happen.

The latest information we had was that the ship would attempt to dock again at 9pm, and that we should be back at the meeting point by 9:30pm. We were able to watch the ship pull in and dock successfully, at which point the group headed back to the meeting point (around 9:45pm). After some more waiting around (the ship still needed to be unloaded after all), we eventually boarded the buses and were driven onto the pier, where we could board from the gangway. We were on board sometime before midnight. After a quick safety briefing we met our luggage back in our rooms. We didn’t get to bed until around 1am.

Our room for 12 days; they gave us the jacket as part of the package


My favorite pictures from the trip can be found here.

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